All Major Asset Classes Rose Last Week

Can you say whipsaw?

All the major asset classes rose last week, according to a set of exchange-traded products representing the key components of the global markets.


By James Picerno


The bounce follows the previous week’s slide that delivered red ink far and wide. Volatility may be low when measured over longer stretches of time for most markets, but the last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride.

Last week’s big winner: equities in emerging markets. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:VWO) surged 3.5% for the five trading days through Friday (Mar. 17), the first weekly advance in three weeks for these stocks (measured in unhedged US dollar(NYSEARCA:UUP) terms).

At the tail end of last week’s rebound: US stocks. Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEARCA:VTI) edged up 0.4%, the smallest gain for the major asset classes.

The bullish bias lifted an ETF-based version of the Global Markets Index (GMI.F). This investable, unmanaged benchmark that holds all the major asset classes in market-value weights revived with a 1.0% increase last week, more than recovering the previous week’s loss.

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For one-year results, most markets are still sitting on solid gains. Leading the field by a hair: US stocks. Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) is ahead by 20.1% on a total return basis for the 12 months through Friday, fractionally ahead of Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO).

Meanwhile, government bonds in foreign developed markets in unhedged US dollar terms continue to wallow in last place for trailing one-year results. SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond (BWX) has shed 4.2% over the past year.

GMI.F’s one-year trend, however, is still comfortably in the black, posting a 10.5% total return through last week’s close vs. the year-earlier price.